German Boys' Sailor Headwear: Sailor Hat Chin Straps

a Figure 1.--This German boy wears a wide-brimmed sailor hat nd chin strap with a lace collar. Most studio portraits do not show the chin strap. We think, however, they were more common that suggesed by the prevlence in the studio portaiture. The boy looks to be very yong, perhaps 2-3 years old. The portrait was taken in 1906. The studio information hard to read but it looks like H. Schroder at Wangeroog, a North Sea island off the Dutch coast. Click on the image, perhaps you can read the studio information better.

We know very little about sailor hat chin straps, but believe that they were very common. We think most German sailor hats came with chin straps. Many may have been elasticized. We are not entirely sure about sailor hats having chin straps, but believe that it was very common at laeast for sailor hats. The boy here is a good example (figure 1). We do not seem them being used as common with sailor caps, but even here we dosee some. In the available portraits the boys do not seem to be commonly using the chin straps with their sailor hats. In many images we can not tell. It is not clear, for example, if the boy on the previous page is wearing a chin strap with his sailor hat. Even so, the photographic record is so extensive that there are plenty of portarits that focus on the head and shoulder area that is quite clear that the children were not commonly using the chin straps. We think that they were folded inside the head band. This of course needs to be confirmed. They of course were not needed for the inside studio photo shoot. Photograpers and mothers may have seen them as rather marring the image. We think they were more likely to be used outside, especially on windy days. Mant of the hats were so large that a wind would have caught them and sent them flying. The chine strap could also be used to slide the cap back off the head and wear it behind the neck. I'm not sure if the boys liked wearing the chin straps. We have not seen chin straps discussed in the literature. All we have to go on at this time is the photographic record.


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Created: 5:11 PM 8/19/2015
Last updated: 5:11 PM 8/19/2015